Nobody Poops

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Well, I feel that films -- the film industry -- has increasingly failed to reflect reality as people live it. No-one goes for a piss in Star Wars, you can watch the whole of Ghostbusters and no-one brushes their teeth, and in Lost in Translation, nothing happens. At all.

And yet--And, yet... not one toilet on the entire Enterprise... Not one! Do these people not poop?

Voltaire (no, not that one), Poopin' on the Enterprise

You know that children's book, Everyone Poops? Well, they lied. Not everyone does.

Sure, real people and animals in everyday life might, but you're not likely to see a fictional character going to the bathroom. This would detract from the plotline, and besides, nobody really wants to see that sort of thing. If something's not crucial to the story, why include it? If the story does mention the subject, it will be for something related to the story, such as a Potty Emergency, or it may be for the sake of Toilet Humor. This is sometimes averted without showing anything by simply having a character excusing themselves for a moment.

The page lists lampshades of the phenomenon; straight examples and aversions are too many to count.

Even the dead aren't immune to this trope, as evidenced in the subtrope No Dead Body Poops.

Examples of Nobody Poops include:



  • Pleasantville makes a point of this - Jennifer enters the bathroom to discover that there are no toilets, because they aren't necessary.
  • There was some Lampshade Hanging in Galaxy Quest (or in a deleted scene, at any rate) where one of the Thermians mentions to Alan Rickman's character that Earth's "historical documents" (television programs) did not contain any information regarding waste facilities on the ship and "we extrapolated based on your anatomy" - revealing what looked to be the most horrendously painful toilet ever created.
  • Grotesquely averted in Dreamcatcher, but lampshaded when they have a conversation about people in movies brushing their teeth.
  • The lack of toilets in Star Trek is lampshaded in Star Trek: First Contact:

Cochrane: I gotta take a leak.
LaForge: Leak? I'm not detecting any leak.
Cochrane: Don't you people from the 24th century ever pee?

    • Geordi goes on to chuckle at the euphemism, so the dialogue seemed to be more about the "take a leak" figure of speech being unknown to the crew in the future.


  • Lampshaded in Asimov's Second Foundation, where a girl sneaks aboard a ship and hides there, like she read and saw a lot in popular culture. Then she realizes that the books failed to mention some things, and she cannot remain in her hiding place for long...
  • Both averted and lampshaded in Donaya Haymond's Legends of Laconia series. In Waking Echoes, the prison cell Ty spends three days in has a toilet, and in Bite Me Matthew asks Dianne if her father goes to the bathroom, saying he's always wondered about those in his condition.
  • One of the later Ring of Fire books -- 1635: The Eastern Front—includes a scene where a radio transmission was delayed because one of General Stearns's staff colonels was "taking care of urgent business."

Long: If it's urgent business, he may be occupied for a while yet.
Stearns: He should be finishing up any second now. It's the sort of pressing business that never makes its way into fiction.

  • Averted and Lampshaded in the Kevin Brooks novel Lucas - while waiting for the antagonists to walk past, so she can stalk them, Cait realises that she really needs to pee, and she decides to go in some nearby tall grass...only for the antagonists to find her when she's still got her pants down. She muses in her narration that you never see anyone got to the toilet in films, and if you do, it's only because something dramatic is going to happen when they're in the toilet - being attacked by an enemy, for example.
  • There's a sequence in The Lord of the Rings which genuinely suggests that Hobbits Don't Poop. When Merry and Pippin are kidnapped by orcs, they spend several days hanging down orc backs as they run to Isengard. There are two possibilities. A) They got bathroom breaks, which are never mentioned, despite bathroom breaks being an opportunity for escape, or humiliating, or worse. Or, B) they pooped their pants, which would have led to them wanting to clean up badly the minute they escaped. No such cleaning-up is mentioned. So, the text appears to say that over the course of a couple days, they never had to poop.
    • They may have just held it in. This troper knows a guy who went backpacking and, to avoid having to go in a hole in the ground, held it in for five days. It's doable.
    • And this troper's husband didn't poop for the whole first week of Navy basic training. Because they stand outside your stall and yell at you to hurry up. Bet the Orcs did that too...
    • Presumably the orcs themselves were also playing this trope straight.
  • In Harry Potter, toilets and bathroom scenes are often quite important, although we never actually see them used for, y'know, what they were designed. Characters will use them to cry, brew illegal potions, talk to ghosts, find secret chambers, decode mermaid messages -- anything but the whole defecation thing.
    • Moaning Myrtle does mention that people sometimes flush her into the lake through the toilet she haunts, but Harry's mind literally shies away from this topic before he can wonder about what happens to her beforehand.
    • Related to that, out of all seven books, only Goblet of Fire features a scene in a bath (you know, to actually take a bath). It seems people in Hogwarts never shower as well, since we are never told where are the showers and are only shown a prefects' bathroom (also, we're not told if it's the only one or if there is one for each house).
    • Later in the series we see that employees of the Ministry of Magic use a toilet as an entrance to the Ministry, actually flushing themselves to work. The films, amusingly enough, show this process.
  • Lampshaded in The Neverending Story. Bastian has to deliver a fax, and wonders why the characters in the books never seem to have that need. He got detention for pointing that out in class.
  • Averted pretty solidly in Watership Down, where the rabbits are mentioned to "pass hraka" multiple times over the course of the book.

Live-Action TV

  • Babylon 5 had a scene in which Sinclair and Garibaldi are strolling through the station, chatting. At some point the two are side by side and only a low wall is visible in front of them. Turns out, they are in a lavatory. Conversation continues as they zip up, then proceed to wash their hands.
  • The Battlestar Galactica remake occasionally has characters occupying stalls in the head for everything from overhearing conversations to romantic encounters. In one episode Gaius Baltar is shaving at a sink and turns to see Kara Thrace, sitting on a toilet, watching him (while peeing no less.)
  • As a small historical note, the first time a toilet was shown on television was in an episode of Leave It to Beaver, and even then, the censors only allowed the tank to be shown: the bowl was considered taboo.
  • The bathroom on The Brady Bunch is notorious for its blatant lack of a toilet, due to the above-mentioned censors. This was one of the many things lampshaded in The Movie.
  • In Hannah Montana, when best friend Lilly Truscott is forced by Miley to go to the toilet, so that Miley can talk to a boy she likes. Lampshaded when she gets back, after much drama has unfolded with Miley, when Lilly mentions how all the good stuff happens when people go to the toilet.
  • In Two Broke Girls, the trope is lampshaded when Caroline mentions that she does not engage in such bodily functions (pooping). Instead, "an angel takes it away in the night."



Video Games

  • Lampshaded in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations: Phoenix believes that his "Perfect Little Dollie" doesn't have such disgusting bodily functions.
  • The Trail of Anguish informs you, "You don't need to use the bathroom right now. It's an adventure game, after all."
  • In the first Dark Forces FPS game set in the Star Wars universe, there's a mission aboard a Corellian Corvette. It is possible to sneak up behind a stormtrooper in the head while he's relieving himself.
  • In The Sims 3, sims with the Steel Bladder lifetime reward no longer need to use the toilet. The same for Mummies and Plantsims.
    • Male Sims always stand to use toilets. So while most Sims pee, at least half of them don't poop.
  • Every single game in the Splinter Cell series has an occasion where Sam sneaks up on and interrogates a bad guy who was in the process of relieving himself in a corner.
  • The Mass Effect series gets as close to subverting this trope as any it can in part 3. Shepard's quarters finally has its own bathroom with a toilet that can be flushed. In the previous games, the Normandy only had the common bathrooms on crew deck.
  • While occasional outhouses dot the landscape in World of Warcraft, your player-character never, ever has to go to the bathroom. The only exception to this is an Alliance-side quest chain in Grizzly Hills, where you need to expel some amberseeds from your system that you accidentally ate—and then you poop so hard you get experience points for doing it.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic the player's ship, the Ebon Hawk, has no bathroom despite having two bedrooms. This wouldn't be too unusual by itself, but its layout is reused in Tabletop RPG supplement Starships of the Galaxy where it stands in stark contrast to every other ship given a map in Star Wars tRPG where maps normally do include toilets.
  • In a few Adventure-style video games, from Leisure Suit Larry to Martian Memorandum, there is a washroom which is needed in the plot as it contains one small item that you need (which some other character usually inadvertently dropped there) or some key piece of information is hidden among the graffiti. If it's a Disgusting Public Toilet, expect some potty humour for good measure.
  • The characters in Last Day on Earth: Survival pee but never poop. They also become oddly vulnerable when peeing (or when desperate to do so).
  • The Very Big Cave Adventure makes a couple of, well, passing references to toilets but never actually shows one.
  • Rebelstar has toilets on the map. Units can go in and occupy the same space but don't appear to actually use the toilets. They certainly never need to, even if "panicked".

Web Comics

Web Original

  • SCP Foundation's SCP-173 seems to be an inversion of this trope - the foul stuff that accumulates in its cell that an unfortunate group of D-classes have to clean up every three days seems to be blood and feces, but exactly how or why it produces this (presumed) waste material is unknown.

Western Animation

  • Lampshaded in The Cleveland Show by two viewers outside of the 4th wall.
  • The title characters of Ren and Stimpy are occasionally seen sitting on the toilet, and from time to time the mother of the boy whose house they were staying at would inform them that "Cartoon characters don't need to use the bathroom!"
  • Nobody poops in the world of Dr. Seuss. They "go to the euphemism".